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Pose of the Week: Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand

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Kelly Igoe in Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand, by Zoe Zimmerman for Sundara Studios 2014

New beginnings can be both exciting and frightening. It’s the nature of stepping into the unknown, intrigued by the mysterious while unsure of its power and consequences. The New Year marks a time of great potency and courage. The potential of transformation inspires us to prepare ourselves enough as we can in order to find success in the endeavors that await us over the threshold. Hopefully we find on the other side that we are ready to let go of what we must in order to make room for the new that is about to arrive.

Starting and developing new relationships with oneself, as we do with our new year’s resolutions, is much like new creative undertakings and entrepreneurial ventures.  All require vision, patience, tenacity, commitment and a desire to succeed.  All can present us with the circumstances we are most afraid of, choices we resist making, and potential for failure.

The Dalai Lama’s first rule, in The Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules For Living, is to “Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.” It is no surprise that this is number one on the list, because it is in the satisfaction that arises from having the courage to take the risk and succeed that we garner some of the greatest joy in our lives. It is also in the quiet of the surrender that follows letting go to the attachment of what it is we wanted, for the contentment of what it is we have, that we come to know extraordinary peace.

In 2013 I began yet another risky and challenging project with a couple other inspired and wonderful women. Suki Dalury, Zoe Zimmerman and I incorporated Sundara Studios Inc., which is a business that creates beautiful and eco-friendly yoga-branded stationary, gifts, and organizational tools. The basic premise is to create products that invite present moment awareness and the appreciation of beauty, in order to have a more heartfelt experience of life.  It’s a concept similar to the invitation to risk, in the knowing that whatever gets us to the higher vibrations of the heart brings more meaning and joy to life.  Excitedly, Sundara Studios just released a 2016 panoramic calendar and it is beautiful and inspiring. The calendar has eight beautiful asana photographs, the first of which embodies the open-hearted courage required to step over risky thresholds into the unknown.

Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, also known as single leg bridge pose in shoulder stand, is a challenging and rewarding posture. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor hip distance apart. Mindfully roll your shoulders onto your back and gently lift your chin out of your chest. The key to maintaining strength in this posture is a commitment to firmly drawing your arms and legs into the midline.

With an inhalation, broaden your sitting bones behind you and draw your bottom ribs back toward the floor. Exhale to scoop your tailbone in and up as you press into your feet and shoulders, extending out from your hips, to lift your hips off the mat and curl into your courageous heart. Inhale to roll your shoulders more deeply onto your back, possibly interlacing your fingers behind you as you reaffirm not only your commitment to the midline, but also your next grand and adventurous risk.  Exhale and hold the posture as you settle into the moment and your courageous heart.

Inhale and draw your right knee into your chest, keeping your toes active and your legs strong.  Exhale to bravely step over the threshold of known into the unknown, extending your right foot to the sky. Hold for five to twenty breaths. Inhale to release foot to floor, and exhale to lower your hips.

Repeat on the second side.

If you are interested in knowing more about Sundara Studios and signing up for our Pose of The Weekend newsletter, or buying a 2016 calendar, check out our website www.sundara-studios.com.

Happy New Year to you, and may you realize all your heart’s desires.

Genevieve